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The Renku Sessions: Timber Smoke – Week 18


Greetings and welcome to The Haiku Foundation’s current Renku Session entitled, ‘Timber Smoke’. I am Marshall Hryciuk of Toronto, Canada and I will be leading this session through a 36-link kasen renku.


So, for link to our first blossom verse we have:


stepping from the change room
in her prom gown                               

Laurie Greer


Whereas the focus in the previous link was wholly on nature, this link has a seasonality drawn completely from the human realm; yet the natural and the human are linked by a fresh newness filled with anticipation, specifically by the folds in the gown (implied) linking up to the unfolding of the flower’s petals (explicit). What’s distinctive is that the person is stepping out of her own volition and this is what moves our renku forward.

“Change room” is a nice touch too, focusing in on the very moment and space of this almost ceremonious act, but also as a phrase summing up in a kind of synecdoche what we perform in a renku, linking and shifting with each verse from a verbal space of trial and emergence.

Thank-you, Laurie Greer.


Now we’re on to what many of you have been waiting for: the love verses. I think they’re usually labelled ‘of unrequited love’ because these are two of the links that can add a surge of emotional energy to the relay of the renku; disappointed desire or love carrying the burden of emotion more heavily than satiety. So, what we need now is a 3 line verse of yearning; desire, romance or love.


Happy linking



Timber Smoke (so far)


nothing dimmed yet
timber smoke scent
sifts into the house

Marshall Hryciuk


one by one
I pick plums off of the ground

Alfred Booth


a file of cars
overtaking a tractor
on the mountain road

Keith Evetts


drawn out deer notes
echo in the coolness

Betty Shropshire


even paler
than the clearing fog
day moon

Mary White


handprints  and crumbs
I would miss them

Pamela Garry


giving pollen
a lift
on the bicycle bells

Laurie Greer


the tiffany blue
of 3 eggs in a nest

Eavonka Ettinger


scattered spores
following a random trail
through landmines

John Hawkhead


attempted murder
by the morality police

Rob Barkan


next door’s dog
at our snowman

Carol Jones


the mailman’s breath
faintly white

Keith Evetts


Jacques Brel singing
“in the port of Amsterdam”
on the radio

Alfred Booth and Marshall Hryciuk


a whirligig of leaves
sweeps the deck clean

Wendy C. Bialek


evening begins
with a gift of opal

Marion Clarke


beachcombers trade shells
as the tide comes in

Jonathan Alderfer


a morning glory
the hummingbird

madeleine kavanaugh


stepping from the change room
in her prom gown

Laurie Greer




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This Post Has 130 Comments

  1. Seasonal greetings from Ireland—best wishes for 2024.

    Well done Laurie!

    stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown

    in the recurring dream
    I say yes instead of no

  2. a morning glory
    the hummingbird
    ———-madeleine kavanaugh

    under the willow
    where the water speaks
    your face

    white birch bark
    unravels in the wind . . .
    the lies we believe

    on one bank a lover
    on the other
    the simmering wind

  3. a morning glory
    the hummingbird
    ——madeleine kavanaugh

    shadows grow long . . .
    my yearning for you
    turns into loneliness

    fragrant grasses
    bend in the soft wind . . .
    another season of longing

  4. all these years later
    she dreams she said yes
    to his question
    many years later
    she dreams she answered

  5. his rizz around him
    they waltz into the same cave
    we discovered

    last date
    breaks the bubble
    on a soda-straw

  6. stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown
    –Laurie Greer

    the undertow
    grabs hold just outside
    your door

    the ivy grew and grew
    then withered
    without warning

    the low moan
    of the river
    after you left

  7. stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown –Laurie Greer

    with their unborn
    still she’s alone

  8. her favorite photo
    I’m peeing
    in a volcano

    the largest slice
    she always saves
    for me

    making love
    seems extra special
    during an earthquake ‘

    her honeymoon memories
    rooster crows
    ar dawn


    1. excellent love verse, rob…vulnerability is a needed ingredient for the basis of a deep relationship.

  9. leaky thatched hut
    our honeymoon

    her wide eyes
    the first time
    she saw snow

    hid my banjo
    til the honeymoon
    was over

    she’s flamenco
    and I’m

  10. hugging a tree
    in lieu
    of his sweetheart
    forever dancing
    around questions
    of love
    this round of courting
    not the same old
    song and dance

  11. stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown

    Laurie Greer
    her scent
    on the pillow
    the morning after
    the rising sun
    in her eyes
    the morning after

  12. stepping from the change room

    in her prom gown
    —Laurie Greer

    swishing to and fro —
    her fickle mind

    a bissel vow
    chrysanthemum in her hair
    full of promise

    Daylight is just starting to lengthen as we pass the midpoint of our poem. At least for some of us. I think it is because of us!

    1. Lovely poems and sentiments!

      Hi Pamela, if you haven’t purchased a book of Issa’s poems yet, I was looking on the internet recently and noticed, “Issa’s Best: A Translator’s Selection of Master Haiku”, (30 Septiembre 2012.) The translator is David G. Lanoue. Although I haven’t read it yet, it stood out to me. If anyone has suggestions of other books of Issa’s works… 🙂

      I couldn’t resist:

      Pamela loves a cup
      of Issa’s tea
      reading on her porch

  13. Valentine’s Day
    at the end of recess
    a first kiss

    first date
    too scared to sit through
    the horror movie

    in the balcony
    during “Georgy Girl”
    too awkward to kiss

    elementary logic
    the pretty girl asks about
    Venn diagrams

    reference desk
    at the college library
    asking for a date

  14. stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown

    Laurie Greer

    her dancing
    keeps us
    both young

    she calls me
    pendejo while
    pouring my coffee

    a bad mistake
    a gringo

    her porch dances
    just a bit
    slower nowadays

    her beautiful butt
    dark brown
    even in winter

  15. stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown

    Laurie Greer
    eyes, r’s, hips
    and a fag
    two hands
    not knowing
    their place
    ten fingers
    ten toes
    a heart
    the size of
    five fingers
    the monarch’s
    flushed cheek
    no that is not 
    eye-shadow rather mercury
    in retrograde
    heart’s desire is a possessive

  16. the perfect hug
    for a sweetheart
    perfected on trees
    after long practice on trees
    the perfect hug
    for a sweetheart
    in the beech bark heart
    her first initial


  17. perfection laurie–from a blooming flower to another blooming flower…
    marshall you are once again a proven master linker.
    and thank you both for the smooth shift into the love verse.
    best renku the haiku foundation has ever hosted, by far.

  18. from across the dance floor
    his come-to-bed eyes
    never meet mine

    “mi amore” I whisper
    to the boy
    I’m invisible to

    one way love
    he hangs
    more than his clothes

  19. hints of stubble
    and more booze
    on lipstick-stained collars

    because old
    faithful because
    the bible belt

  20. stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown

    Laurie Greer

    the ginkgo walk
    he checks me for ticks

  21. stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown

    Laurie Greer

    Congrats! Laurie…..a lovely, follow-up link to the flower bloom and eloquent shift in our renku; as well as a wonderful intro to the love section!

    Marshall…outstanding pick and sensitive observation in your commentary!

  22. love
    now as elusive as
    a two-dollar bill

    last pick in the draft
    the first cut
    from the team

    the inflatable
    girl meets an
    untimely puncture

    inflatable girl

  23. 17
    a morning glory
    the hummingbird
    stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown
    hours for make-up
    wasted on a brute
    with sneaky hands

    Hi doll !
    You an’ me goin’ to see
    some action, right?

    So sweet !
    But the lummox wants to talk
    about his drones

  24. throwing rocks
    at her window
    stolen kisses at midnight

    side by side
    on the porch swing
    gnarled fingers entwined

    1. Revise:
      throwing rocks
      at her window
      stolen midnight kisses

      side by side
      on the porch swing
      no words needed

  25. I love your thoughts on each verse, Marshall! On this one especially down to the “ synecdoche” (who knew?!) of “change room” and linking the implied folds in the gown to the explicit unfolding of the flower’s petals! So cool! And Laurie, congratulations and thank you for all your poems. Mostly this one lands with me like a bissel fairy tale. But upon one read “change room” felt more like the room where I put on and off the hospital gown. The prom dress represented a good diagnosis.

    1. A few more sharings about Laurie’s verse. It really leaves room for many interpretations. maybe she looks in the mirror and feels self critical? Or maybe she feels herself a princess….

      In my previous comment, imagining the change room in a medical environment, then the prom dress represents a good prognosis (a better word choice than diagnosis.)

  26. softer birdsong
    in the umber autumn
    this quiet love

    dark sky reserve
    hoping to see all the way
    into her eyes

    sakura dawn
    still she blushes
    in the half-light

  27. losing himself
    and his extra left foot
    in her smile
    she works her magic
    for the spell
    of a slow dance

  28. ***
    with trembling hands
    he positions
    the corsage

    the puppy chases her
    round and round
    kitty takes off for a nap

  29. Congratulations, Laurie. your verse reminds me of Cinderella, it has a fairytale feel, well done.

  30. with trembling hands
    he positions the corsage

    puppy chases round and round
    the cat walks off for a nap

  31. Congratulations, Laurie

    OK here is my contribution…

    i am dazzled
    a moment flies by
    lost in your words

  32. Hi Laurie:
    Your poem is delightful…full of hope for the future. It’s perfect for the renku. I am very glad that Marshall chose it! 🙂

  33. Thanks Nancy–and many thanks, Marshall, for selecting this one.

    finding their calling
    as a couple
    at the square dance

    at the square dance

  34. Congratulations, Laurie, on the verse.

    stepping from the change room
    in her prom gown
    –Laurie Greer

    the wallflower hopes
    he asks her
    to dance
    the wallflower hopes
    he asks her
    to waltz

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